Jaume Collet-Serra Talks Orphan, Why He Still Loves House of Wax

Director Jaume Collet-Serra made his directorial debut in 2005 with the remake of the genre classic House of Wax. Now he’s back with a new project, Orphan, which he hopes will give horror fans a taste of what he finds truly terrifying: exploring the dark side of human nature.

Orphan director Jaume Collet-Serra

In Orphan we meet Esther. She’s a young girl who is taken in by a family, and as time passes, we realize just how disturbed she is and how her obsessive nature starts taking over in deadly ways,” explained Collet-Serra. “Orphan is my way of digging deep into the idea that everyone needs to feel loved and accepted, but I wanted to look at it from a dark perspective.”

Orphan stars Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, CCH Pounder, and Isabelle Fuhrman as the “devastatingly haunting” Esther. “Isabelle’s performance in the film is jaw-dropping,” said Collet-Serra. “This young girl has the talent to work for decades to come. She was a revelation to work with.

Collet-Serra went on to talk about the rest of his Orphan cast. “Vera’s performance as a mother who struggles with her own demons and then comes to realize what Esther’s true nature is really sets the tone for the entire film,” Collet-Serra added. “Peter has some amazing scenes as well. I really could not have asked for a better cast. They were a dream to direct and collaborate with.

Even though this time around he’s helming an “intellectual” horror film, Collet-Serra looks back fondly on his House of Wax (review here) debut, which was more of a slasher/gore flick than a psycho-drama piece like Orphan.

Collet-Serra said, “I loved remaking House of Wax. We had such a great time filming that movie. I think that our approach to the story was really great, and I enjoyed making a slasher movie. The whole cast were troopers, especially Paris, who undoubtedly had one of the more creative deaths that we filmed. It was a big project to take on for a first film, but I still love it.

After Orphan Collet-Serra hopes to continue to work within the realm of horror, as he really enjoys the type of storytelling that the genre lends itself to.

What I think is really interesting about horror is that the bottom line is that like laughing, everyone likes to be scared from time to time. If you can take an emotion like fear and tell interesting stories alongside it, it’s a wonderful way to connect with audiences.” Collet-Serra added, “I’ve been lucky to be able to demonstrate how diverse my storytelling abilities are within two different types of horror films. I can’t wait to see what I get to do next.

Thanks to Gemma Cacho at Warner Brothers for coordinating the interview.

Orphan opens July 24th, 2009. Check out a few stills and the trailer below.



Heather Wixson

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